Moving to Crashplan online backup
I recently detailed my problems with Backzup and LiveDrive, and have since found Carbonite’s throttling of backup speeds has made the service unusable. I had to contact Carbonite after upgrading my server from a 10.6 Atom to 10.7 i3 setup, as the backup set was frozen and a new one started. I had around 200Gb of data in the backup, and since Carbonite throttle backup speeds to make the service unusable at around 300Gb I could only get half way through the second backup. Contacting Carbonite about the problem resulted in having to delete all the backups and start again, but the speed stayed low and after six weeks I had backed up 60Gb.
I have had no reply from Backzup in the ten weeks since my account was suspended, and LiveDrive said it wasn’t their problem. Also, Firefox warns that https://backzup.com is untrusted as it uses a self-signed certificate, making me wonder how much thought the clowns behind Backzup gave their service. Time to switch to a new online backup company.
After searching for a couple of weeks the service I decided to try was CrashPlan. I was determined not to waste money again, so signed up for a 30 day trial to test the service thoroughly before committing. The software CrashPlan provide is comprehensive, and offers paid online backups or free backups to your own or friends/family’s computers. A 206Gb backup set was started at 4pm on 16th February 2012 and completed at 6am on 1st March. That work out to around 632 megabytes an hour on average, or a little over 15 gigabytes a day. I have a 5 megabit upload speed through Virgin media, offering a maximum theoretical upload rate of 2.25 gigabytes an hour or 54 gigabytes a day. I had been through all the CrashPlan software settings to ensure there were no limits on the upload speed, so the limit appears to be how quickly CrashPlan would accept my data.
To put this into perspective, Carbonite backed up on average 1.42 Gigabytes a day, running some days for 24 hours and others for 6 hours. Even if Carbonite ran 6 hours every day that would be no more than 6 Gigabytes a day. The Backzup/Livedrive account backed up 206Gb in five days, so while it made much better use of my bandwidth the account was suspended/deleted after two weeks so speed is irrelevant.
How fast you can back up data is just a small part of any backup service, and the most important factor is getting every byte of data back when your data is lost. That’s why you use online backup, so it should work perfectly. Livedrive appear to have some problems with this basic task, so how did CrashPlan fare?
To test the integrity of my backup, I downloaded all 24,932 files to a different location and compared to the original files. The restore of 206.6 Gigabytes took around 64 hours, averaging 3.2 Gigabytes an hour. My 50 Megabit download can handle 6.25 Megabytes a second, and I often see this with some of the services I use. That’s a maximum of 22.5 Gigabytes an hour, so while the CrashPlan backup averaged 14% of my download speed, I was using the net connection for other things so I expect around 10 hours could have been knocked off the restore time.
I used an OSX build of Kdiff3 to do the comparison of the original and restored files, and apart from a couple of minor permissions differences every file matched. I browsed through my 24,000 digital camera photo’s, and didn’t find any corruption. All the videos played perfectly, and the other file types opened and worked correctly.
This sort of test took me around three weeks total, but was comfortably within the 30 day CrashPlan trial. I am now confident that CrashPlan have a 100% accurate backup of my files, so have no reservations about recommending the service and paying for an ongoing account.